DVLA Medical for High Risk Drink Driving Offenders
The High Risk Offender Scheme (HRO)
May of 1983 saw the HRO (high risk offenders) scheme being introduced. High risk offenders are drivers who are convicted of repeated and/or serious drink driving offences.
High Risk Offenders are Drivers who:
- Have been disqualified by order of a court upon conviction of either:
- driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol (DR10), or
- being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink (DR50);
While being over two and a half times the legal drink driving limit with a blood alcohol concentration that equalled or exceeded:
- 87.5 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, or
- 200 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, or
- 267.5 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine; OR
- Have been disqualified by order of a court for failing, without reasonable excuse, to provide a specimen for analysis when ordered to do so while either:
Pursuant to section 7 of The Road Traffic Act (refusing/failing to supply an evidential breath, blood or urine sample); OR
- Have been disqualified by order of a court for failing, without reasonable excuse, to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of blood taken while that person was incapable of consenting to such a specimen being taken.
- Have been disqualified by order of a court on two or more occasions within a period of 10 years for either:
- driving or attempting to drive with alcohol concentration exceeding the legal limit (DR10), or
- driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink (DR20), or
- being in charge of a vehicle with alcohol concentration exceeding the legal limit (DR40), or
- being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink (DR50);
Courts do not automatically inform a person that they are a high risk offender.
Under the high risk offenders scheme, those drivers who have been convicted of any of the offences above will be required to satisfy the DVLA of their fitness to drive by taking a DVLA medical examination arranged by DVLA, with a DVLA appointed doctor and satisfactory medical reports from their own doctor(s) may be required.
Satisfactory medical reports will need to be obtained before a drivers licence is re-instated under this scheme.
The DVLA will notify offenders covered by the high risk offenders scheme and inform them of what they need to do in order to successfully apply for the return of their driving licence.
There will be a fee to pay for the application of the driving licence and a separate fee to pay for the necessary medical examination by a DVLA appointed doctor.
The DVLA Drink Driving Medical
The DVLA should contact any driver who is covered by the high risk offender scheme approximately two to three months before their driving disqualification ends to inform them of all necessary steps to be taken and how to arrange the medical examination.
The Medical Examination
The medical examination is designed to assess a drivers overall fitness to drive, with a focus on any past or present alcohol abuse, misuse or dependency problems. High risk offenders will be required to provide a sample of blood, in some cases a urine sample and undergo a brief physical medical examination that sometimes includes an eye test. The DVLA appointed doctor will also perform a medical interview which will involve a series of questions that the high risk offender must answer.
Blood Sample Testing
Previous DVLA medical blood tests consisted of liver function tests (LFT) which tested the following biomarkers:
- GGT (Gamma GT) - Gamma-glutamyl transferase
- MCV (Mean Cell Volume) - Increased red blood cell size
- ALT - Alanine aminotransferase & AST - Aspartarte aminotransferase.
The Secretary of State's Honorary Medical Advisory Panel has now decided that use of the CDT (Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin) biomarker will now be used as the sole test for assessing the harmful use of alcohol for high risk offenders.
CDT (Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin)
The CDT biomarker is reportedly more accurate with the percentage of false positives being relatively low compared to other biomarkers. In a Department of Transport Study (Road Safety Research Report No. 104, 2010), CDT test results were able to identify drinking indicative of harmful or dependent alcohol intake significantly more accurate than other biomarkers.
The CDT test results will operate using a traffic light system of green, amber and red which will correspond to a range of %CDT cut off levels for licensing purposes.
GREEN - %CDT < 2.2%
A CDT level of less than 2.2% is considered to be in the normal range and indicates no excessive alcohol intake. A person whose CDT level falls within this range is identified as consuming little or no alcohol and is compatible for licensing.
AMBER - %CDT = 2.3 - 2.9%
A CDT level of between 2.3% to 2.9% is considered to be indicative of possible problematic alcohol consumption. A person whose CDT levels fall within this range is identified as someone who may drink to excess or binge drinks regularly and will trigger further enquiries with that persons general practitioner (GP) before a licensing decision is made.
RED - %CDT > 3%
A CDT level greater than 3% is considered to be indicative of alcohol consumption in a dependent manner. A person whose CDT levels fall within this range is identified as someone who is dependent on alcohol and a license will be refused.
The %CDT cut off levels were up to date at the time of publishing although the medical advisory panel may review and change the cut off levels at any time.
DVLA Medical Examination Results
If there is evidence of persistent alcohol misuse within the past 6 months or alcohol dependency within the past 12 months or there is evidence of current ongoing alcohol misuse or dependency then a high risk offenders application for a driving licence will be refused.
Driving licence refusal due to alcohol dependence or misuse
If the driving licence application is refused then the high risk offender will be informed what they must do and any relevant time period before a driving licence may be issued.
If the refusal was due to alcohol misuse then a minimum period of six months controlled drinking or abstinence must be attained alongside normalisation of blood parameters.
If the refusal was due to alcohol dependence then a one year period free of alcohol problems must be attained and abstinence will normally be required alongside normalisation of blood parameters if relevant.
Driving licence restoration after refusal
If a driving licence has been refused due to alcohol dependence or misuse then satisfactory medical reports from the high risk offenders own doctor(s) will usually be required and another DVLA medical will usually have to be undertaken.
Temporary driving licence
In certain circumstances a temporary one, two or three year driving licence may be issued.
A temporary driving licence is usually issued when alcohol dependency or misuse is uncertain and cannot be corroborated and/or where a high risk offender has a previous history of alcohol dependency or persistent alcohol misuse, but has satisfactory examination and blood test results. If this is the case then the high risk offender will have to submit to another DVLA medical examination after a one, two or three year period.
The responsibility for making the decision about whether or not a person should continue to drive is that of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), with the doctor(s) acting only as a source of information and advice.
High risk offenders right to appeal
A high risk offender has the right to appeal to a magistrates court or to a sheriff court if they live in Scotland about any decision to withhold or revoke their driving licence by the DVLA.
In order to make a successful appeal they should instruct a solicitor who is familiar with the necessary procedures. An appeal must be made within 6 months of the decision being made by the DVLA.
The DVLA should write to you and inform you if you need to go for a medical shortly after your court case and subsequent conviction / driving disqualification. They should also write to you approximately 90 days before your driving disqualification is due to end with all necessary information regarding re-applying for your driving licence and arranging the medical.
If you do not receive notification by the DVLA which is often the case if you have completed the Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course or you have changed address, simply request a 'D1 Pack - Application for a driving licence for a car, moped or motorcycle' online or alternatively you can pick one up at your local post office. You can re-apply for your driving licence up to 90 days before your disqualification is due to end if you are a high risk offender.
Once you have received your D1 pack, fill it out as instructed and return it to the DVLA along with the appropriate fee, they will then process your application and contact you regarding arranging your medical.
Yes, you will need to pay the DVLA appointed doctor for carrying out the medical (usually on the day you take the medical), this fee will be in addition to the driving licence application fee.
The DVLA medical examination should take approximately thirty minutes or so to complete.
If the DVLA can make a decision based on the information provided including all relevant medical results they aim to make a decision on most cases within 15 working days.
If they need to investigate further and require more information from their medical advisors and/or your GP then they aim to make a decision on most cases within 90 working days.
This will be in addition to the time it takes for blood samples to be sent off for testing and analysis which should take no longer than a week or so.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ
In order to ascertain legal entitlement to drive you MUST contact the DVLA directly.
If you do not have a current, up to date and valid driving licence in your possession then it is imperative you contact the DVLA in order to avoid further offences being committed.
Drivers convicted and disqualified on or after 1st June 2013
Section 88 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 which previously allowed certain drivers, including those classified as high risk offenders to legally drive if their driving disqualification had ended, whose driving licence had not been revoked due to medical reasons and a qualifying drivers licence application had been received by the DVLA no longer applies to any person convicted and disqualified on or after 1st June 2013.
NEW LEGISLATION EFFECTIVE FROM 1st JUNE 2013
The new legislation only applies to any conviction in respect to which a disqualification was imposed on or after 1st June 2013. More Information.
As of 1st June 2013 any driver who has been disqualified and classified as a high risk offender must now wait until the DVLA issues them with a full valid driving licence, after passing a DVLA medical before they are legally entitled to drive.
Drivers convicted and disqualified before 1st June 2013
Any high risk offender convicted and disqualified before 1st June 2013, who is not currently disqualified, whose licence has not been revoked for medical reasons and a qualifying driving licence application has been received by the DVLA may still retain legal entitlement to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 while awaiting the DVLA to determine their fitness to drive.